Teenage boy dies cliff-jumping at popular Duluth swimming spot

Another tragic accident happens at "The Deeps."

A popular cliff-jumping destination in Duluth has been the scene of a number of incidents in the past, and this weekend it claimed the life of a teenage boy.

At 5:22 p.m. Saturday, the Duluth Fire Department was notified of a boy who had jumped into the Lester River in an area known as, "The Deeps," a news release from the department says.

He had not resurfaced after jumping off a cliff, the release says. Rescuers from the fire department, Duluth Police, St. Louis County, the U.S. Coast Guard and Gold Cross Ambulance arrived and searched The Deeps all the way to the mouth of the river at Lake Superior.

The boy was found at 5:40, about two blocks downstream and was brought out of the water using ropes. Rescuers immediately began CPR and other live-saving measures.

He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead, WDIO says. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office has identified him as 15-year-old Will Schlotec of Duluth.

Recent heavy rains in the area made water conditions in Lester River dangerous, the fire department says. The river was running "very fast and high."

Danger at The Deeps

"The Deeps" is a known swimming spot for Duluth residents. There's a small waterfall along Amity Creek as it heads toward the Lester River, with the opportunity to jump off a 25-foot cliffside into the water.

Here's a video of a group diving off the cliff into the water (a YouTube search will pull up even more videos.)

It's a popular spot, but dangerous – which is why it's not a sanctioned swimming area.

Earlier this summer, a 22-year-old man was pulled from the water by friends after being knocked unconscious while jumping in, the Duluth News Tribune reported at the time, and in 2011, a 13-year-old boy was swept away by the current and drowned. 

Other incidents in recent years have involved people who hit rocks on the way down.

The spot isn't a recent discovery. Shorpy has a picture that's dated to 1904, showing a group of young naked boys taking a dip in "The Deeps" – note there is some nudity in the photo.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 6.53.17 PM

Mike Lindell's MyPillow offering discounts using the code 'Qanon'

The Shakopee-based company is under the microscope because of the recent actions of its owner.

Surly Brewing

Facing aluminum can shortage, Surly unveils solution: 'Cantyhose'

The brewery came up with a creative way to repurpose unused cans.

Liam Robbins

Gophers stay perfect at home by crushing 7th-ranked Michigan

Liam Robbins and Marcus Carr were too much for the previously undefeated Wolverines.

police lights

Four teens arrested over robberies in Minneapolis

They teens were found in a vehicle that was taken during an earlier carjacking.

Boundary Waters/BWCA

All BWCA visitors will now have to watch three 'Leave No Trace' videos

Visitors left an "unacceptably high amount" of damage last year.


Ten fatal overdoses in past 6 weeks reported in region of northern MN

Law enforcement agencies have issued a plea to the general public.

u.s. district court minnesota - federal court minneapolis

Bracing for security threats, federal courthouses closing in Minnesota

Security is also being ramped up at the state capitol.

N95 mask

3M sues Florida company that sold 10K counterfeit N95 masks to HCMC

The Maplewood company has obtained a temporary injunction against the firm.

vaccine, covid

Walz, Whitmer, and Evers call on Trump Admin. to buy more vaccines

It comes after The Washington Post reported that the country's COVID vaccine reserves have been exhausted.